Keeping customers in tough times is vital for your business’s long-term success. In economic challenges, market disruptions, or crises, customer loyalty is especially valuable. Here are key ways you can improve your chances to retain customers, even when wider circumstances make it difficult.
Provide exceptional customer service
In difficult times, customers may have different problems to deal with – particularly if they are a business themselves also trying to cope. Ensure your customer support team is responsive, empathetic, and well-trained to address customer concerns promptly.
Be flexible with your policies and terms. Consider extending return periods, offering payment plans, or providing discounts to support customers who may be facing financial constraints.
Loyalty programmes and rewards
Implement or enhance loyalty programmes to reward loyal customers. Offer discounts, exclusive access, or special promotions to encourage repeat purchases.
Show how you add value
Provide additional value to your customers. This can include free resources / items, bulk purchase savings, or extended warranties. Demonstrating that you care about their well-being can foster loyalty.
You can make use of your customer data to personalise marketing messages and product recommendations, highlighting to different groups the different products and services that might be of most benefit to them. This shows customers that you understand their preferences and needs, rather than a blanket one-size-fits-all approach.
Be open about the challenges
When times are tough, people are understanding that this applies to businesses as well. Keep customers informed about the challenges your business is facing. Transparency builds trust and shows that you value your customers’ understanding.
Feedback and improvement
Actively seek feedback from your customers about their experiences with your products or services. Use this feedback to make improvements that meet their needs, and then publicly show these changes to demonstrate how you listen and act on what they have told you.
Diversify your business
Diversification, by adding new or amended products or services to cater to changing customer demands, can be a key element of helping retain your customers – as well as adding new ones. Examine what opportunities there might be, in a way that aligns with your core offer. See more about what steps you might take to diversify your offer.
Build trust through social responsibility
Customers make decisions based on how they feel as much as any practical considerations. Engage in activities or initiatives that resonate with your customers’ values. Show that you’re committed to making a positive impact on the community through working with local community and voluntary groups, supporting local charities, deepening a sense of trust and connection.
Plan for continuity
Have a robust business continuity plan in place to ensure that your customers continue to receive the products or services they rely on, even during challenging times. Read our guidance on creating a continuity plan for your business.
Maintain a positive online presence
Bad reviews can seriously impact your reputation, especially when word-of-mouth is so important, and they can spread quickly online. Monitor your online reputation, especially on sites such as Trustpilot and Google Reviews, and address negative feedback promptly. Show that you’re actively addressing issues and that you value customer opinions.
Be ready to pivot your strategy and approach as the situation evolves. Businesses that can adapt quickly to changing circumstances are more likely to retain customers.
Remember that retaining customers during difficult times requires a customer-centric approach. Prioritise building relationships, delivering value, and demonstrating empathy. By showing your commitment to your customers’ needs, you can foster customer loyalty that lasts well beyond the challenging period.
We are now planning our business support programmes for the next year, and we are looking to consult the local community of providers to work with the Growth Hub and support businesses.
Choc Affair Ltd., a beloved York-based chocolate manufacturer known for its ethical and award-winning creations, has achieved a significant in capacity to produce their handmade delights.
The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, in partnership with Lifted Ventures, has launched the 'North Yorkshire Stars' pilot project. This initiative is geared towards empowering budding start-ups and early-stage businesses, offering them a unique pathway to pitch their ideas and attract angel investment.
27th February 202410:00 am - 4:00 pmFREE
This free drop-in service based in Harrogate can help answer your questions and direct you to relevant business support, resources and programmes.
06th March 202410:00 am - 11:00 amFREE
In this 1 hour session we will take you through the best way to find, approach and pitch to a retail buyer. We will prepare you with an overview of the Buying cycle, review the considerations that you will need to be aware of, share questions a Buyer might ask and provide a clear outline for the perfect pitch.
A free video toolkit to help growing food and drink businesses in York and North Yorkshire. Essential ingredients for food and drink business success.
A free screen tourism toolkit exploring the opportunities, showing best practice and connecting business with resources and support.